Ukai

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Ukai - Cormorant Fishing in the Nagara River

Ukai - Cormorant Fishing in the Nagara River

Ukai, or cormorant fishing, is a method of fishing used in the Nagara River in Gifu Prefecture. Cormorants are medium to large sized aquatic birds. Fishermen tie the base of the cormorants throats with a snare or a kind of trap which keeps the cormorants from swallowing the larger fish. The snare allows cormorants to swallow smaller fish the fishermen do not need. Once the cormorant catches a large fish, the fishermen pulls the cormorant back to spit up the larger fish. Ukai has been practiced for about 1,300 years. The cormorants are cared for properly for the fishermen depend on the cormorants for fishing and livelihood. Cormorant fishing is practiced in several other places in the world but in Japanese ukai, Japanese Cormorants are used and is most famous in Gifu.

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